The Day In Israel: Sun May 10th, 2009

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According to “confidential reports” (oops!) sent to Jerusalem , the US has set October as its target for completing the first round of talks with Iran on its nuclear program, after which time Washington’s stance toward Tehran will stiffen (whatever that really means).

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

9:58PM: Palestinians launched a Qassam into Israel.

6:20PM: Best excuse to beat a charge of growing drugs goes to these palestinian women:

Palestinian Authority police confiscated 1,159 poppy plants and seeds growing in the gardens of nine residents of a village south of Nablus on Saturday, said the deputy head of the police department, Ahmad Abu Ar-Rub.

Abu Ar-Rub said in a news conference in Nablus that “the PA police department released those allegedly accused after finding that they did not have any relationship with planting drug crops.”

He said the cultivation “was done by women who spontaneously passed over planting them between each other for many years because this kind of plant has beautiful flowers.”

In second place are these palestinians:

Palestinian police in the central West Bank town of Birzeit seized marijuana seedlings late on Saturday planted near the main crossroads of Turmmus’ayya village, east of Ramallah.

Director of the public relations and media office in Ramallah police department Major Farid Al-Ladawdeh explained that the Birzeit center received a phone call from people close to the police, through which they were told that there were seedlings in the area. A police force headed to the place and found them, he said.

Al-Ladawdeh added that residents of the village expressed their distress regarding such practices and confirmed that they saw the seedlings and thought they were normal plants.

6:15PM: Why grocery store robberies are very rare in Israel (hat tip: Muqata).

soldiers-7-11

6:00PM: During Operation Cast Lead, Israel presented proof of weapons and explosives being stored and operated from residential buildings. While the proof was compelling, I am sure the anti-Israel brigade had a way of explaining it away.

This next story – from the palestinians Ma’an News Agency – is for their benefit:

Quantities of homemade explosives were found in homes and mosques in Qalqiliya, a city in the northern West Bank, on Saturday, according to Palestinian Authority security services spokesperson Adnan Dmeiri.

Dmeiri said at a news conference held at the PA Information Ministry on Sunday that the explosives were primitive, which increases the danger to residents, as “they could explode at any moment, endangering citizens.”

He also insisted that the Palestinian Authority will not allow manufacturing and storing of explosives in residential neighborhoods, whatever the justification, because it endangers residents’ lives.

Dmeiri did not name any particular faction thought to be responsible for storing the explosives, however, he highlighted that statements were found near the explosives bearing the signature of Hamas’ militant wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. He claimed that the statements included defamation against the Palestinian Authority.

5:47PM: Honk if you love are disgusted with the Pope’s treatment of Holocaust deniers.

2:55PM: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has vowed that Israel will not withdraw from the Golan Heights.

Which means we will be hearing a conflicting statement from him in a few weeks time.

2:50PM: Today’s JPost picture caption blunder (hat tip: Tamzen).

jpost-pic

Then again, Israeli cabinet meetings are a bit like a traffic accident.

6:07AM: It is really heartening to know people like this man exist in Britain, let alone the world.

A British playwright and author angered by a controversial play written to protest Israel’s operation in Gaza has written a theatrical response.

Richard Stirling penned “Seven Other Children,” which this week began a two-week run at the New End Theater in Hampstead, northwest London.

After seeing “Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza,” which was performed at the prestigious Royal Court Theater in west London in February, Stirling felt it was “dangerously one-sided” and said he had been “disturbed” by its ideas.

“It was immaculately produced, but the content was dangerously one-sided to anyone not convinced of its political or even humanitarian premise,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

Written by British playwright Caryl Churchill, a pro-Palestinian activist and patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, “Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza” was met with widespread fury in both the theater world and Jewish community, with charges that it was anti-Semitic.

A non-Jew, Stirling was one of those who questioned the content of the play.

“In less than 10 minutes, Churchill conflated criticism of the government of Israel with polemic about Israelis and Jews in general,” he said. “The play, after all, was called Seven Jewish Children, not Seven Israeli Children. And the speedy connection between pre-World War II Jews as victims of the Nazis and present-day Israelis as the oppressors of the Middle East was one that I, a non-Jew, was not prepared to make.”

In a letter sent to the Daily Telegraph newspaper in February, some 60 members of Britain’s Jewish community said the play demonized Israelis by reinforcing false stereotypes.

Churchill was unrepentant.

“It came out of feeling strongly about what’s happening in Gaza, it’s a way of helping the people there,” she said. “Israel has done lots of terrible things in the past, but what happened in Gaza seemed particularly extreme.”

Stirling’s play, written as a theatrical response to “Seven Jewish Children,” uses the same format and vernacular, seeking to provide context to the debate.

“The tragedy of the situation in Gaza is anything but one-sided or sectarian,” the New End Theatre said in a statement. “‘Seven Other Children’ is written not in its own right, but to show a dimension overlooked by recent plays on the subject: the tragedy of the Palestinian child as victim of a distorted education about Israel and the crescendo of hate that continues to grow.”

“The incomplete narrative of Churchill’s declared ‘political event’ was taken by Stirling, a non-Jew, to demand a response, particularly in the light of Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cook’s statement that no balance is required: ‘Are A Doll’s House or King Lear fair?’,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the organizers of a fringe festival in Liverpool staging a production of “Seven Jewish Children” later this month are considering a request to stage “Seven Other Children” alongside it after a number of complaints by the Jewish community.

Madeline Heneghan, development coordinator for the “Writing on the Wall” festival, taking place this month, told the Post she had asked the festival’s trustees for permission to stage “Seven Other Children” and was awaiting their response.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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